Thesaurus Structure

Thesaurus Structure

Subject Groups or Areas

The Legal thesaurus consists of several main subject areas of groups. They do not, however, constitute independent classifications of individual fields, i.e. individual thesauri. They form integral parts of the Legal Thesaurus as a whole. The main criterion for the choice of preferred concepts is according ti their legal relevance. As there is no universally applicable principle of choice, the selection of preferred concepts and their location in the subject areas in many cases can only be based on a compromise between the perspectives and needs of individual disciplines and practical requirements of users. As a consequence subject areas closer to the focus of the Thesaurus are dealt with more extensively than others.

In some cases it is possible to place preferred concepts, and concepts in general, in more than one subject group. In general, the Legal Thesaurus Editorial Team often opts for polyhierarchy.

  • General Concepts: It contains a list of general concepts. These concepts do not belong to any special subject areas and therefore possess only little information value when used alone.
  • Legal Concepts
  • Geographic Names
  • Related Subject Area

Concept Relationships Display

Each concept and its conventional term relationships are shown in the Legal Thesaurus concept entries.

    • Preferred concepts are linked to indexed metadata held in the Encyclopedia of Law and may be used for indexing legal literature. It is selected according to professional usage; generally the most common expression is chosen.
    • Non Preferred concepts (USED FOR or UF) can be synonyms, quasy or near-synonyms, lexical variants or narrower terms of the preferred concept, which are too specific to be included as indexing terms.
    • Non-Preferred concepts are not used for indexing but provide useful entry points to identify the relevant descriptor or combination of descriptors. They are selected according to professional aspects and according to their usefulness for indexing and retrieval purposes.
    • Relationships: In the Legal Thesaurus, concepts are arranged within a network of relationships, which help users to identify individual preferred concepts or combinations of preferred concepts and thus give their search a higher degree of specificity and precision.
    • Hierarchical Relationship: BROADER Concepts and NARROWER Concepts of a preferred concept define its position in the thesaurus hierarchy of concepts. A Broader Concept is superordinate in meaning to the Narrower concept, and vice versa.
    • Equivalence Relationship. Preferred concepts may be placed in equivalence relationships with one or several non-preferred concepts (Used for, UF). See above.
    • Associative Relationship. Related Terms are those which have no direct hierarchical, but a close conceptual link (conceptually associated) to the preferred concept. Related concepts are selected to support indexing and retrieval.
    • Top Concepts are those preferred terms located on the highest level of a hierarchical tree of concepts.
    • The SCOPE NOTE is a brief text supplementing a preferred concept entry, gives background information on the use or the special meaning of the term within the thesaurus (the intended scope). The Scope Note can also point to alternatives or give short definitions. Only preferred concepts with ambiguous meaning or other problems in form and content are given a scope note. As work continues a growing number of scope notes will be added to the concepts.



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